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5. Chapter V (continued)
Helen, on the other hand, staggered to Mrs. Dalloway's door, knocked, could not be heard for the slamming of doors and the battering of wind, and entered.
There were basins, of course. Mrs. Dalloway lay half-raised on a pillow, and did not open her eyes. Then she murmured, "Oh, Dick, is that you?"
Helen shouted--for she was thrown against the washstand--"How are you?"
Clarissa opened one eye. It gave her an incredibly dissipated appearance. "Awful!" she gasped. Her lips were white inside.
Planting her feet wide, Helen contrived to pour champagne into a tumbler with a tooth-brush in it.
"Champagne," she said.
"There's a tooth-brush in it," murmured Clarissa, and smiled; it might have been the contortion of one weeping. She drank.
"Disgusting," she whispered, indicating the basins. Relics of humour still played over her face like moonshine.
"Want more?" Helen shouted. Speech was again beyond Clarissa's reach. The wind laid the ship shivering on her side. Pale agonies crossed Mrs. Dalloway in waves. When the curtains flapped, grey lights puffed across her. Between the spasms of the storm, Helen made the curtain fast, shook the pillows, stretched the bed-clothes, and smoothed the hot nostrils and forehead with cold scent.
"You are good!" Clarissa gasped. "Horrid mess!"
She was trying to apologise for white underclothes fallen and scattered on the floor. For one second she opened a single eye, and saw that the room was tidy.
"That's nice," she gasped.
Helen left her; far, far away she knew that she felt a kind of liking for Mrs. Dalloway. She could not help respecting her spirit and her desire, even in the throes of sickness, for a tidy bedroom. Her petticoats, however, rose above her knees.
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